The population loss of major cities in the age of the pandemic is more dramatic than we thought

New data from the Census Bureau shows dramatic population losses in the 88 largest US cities, writes Brookings Principal Investigator William H. Frey. An analysis by Brookings “places these estimates in the context of trends in recent decades, when major US cities have experienced notable ups and downs. He then shifts the focus to the suburbs of major metropolitan areas, which, while benefiting somewhat from recent urban population losses, tend to exhibit their own growth slowdowns.

The article describes changes in the population growth of major cities since the turn of the millennium, when the early years brought a suburban boom followed by a slowdown in suburban growth during the recession of 2007-2009. “The pandemic began to affect city growth in 2019-20, and more so in 2020-21, the first year this century in which major cities experienced overall population loss, down 1% “. Between 2020 and 2021, “fourteen cities experienced their first population losses since at least 2010, including Washington, DC, Atlanta, Denver, Houston, Minneapolis, San Diego and Seattle.”

The analysis highlights the drastic impact of the pandemic. “Looking at data going back two decades, no individual year comes close to showing the population decline these cities have witnessed in 2020-21, alongside slower growth across their metropolitan areas and cities. their suburbs. But while the dramatic population loss may be a pandemic-era jolting, changes like the shift to remote and hybrid working signal that a “return to the city” is “less inevitable than it might be. would be otherwise”.

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